POLICY GUIDE TO HOUSING FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN CITIES
Serie: Guas de poltica urbana para pueblos indgenas Urban Policy Guides for Indigenous Peoples
This publication has been made possible through nancial support from the Government of Canada.
Researched and drafted by: Leilani Farha and Cleste McKay, with the research assistance of Sheila Muxlow.
This policy guide has been prepared as a result of the international Expert Group Meeting on Urban Indigenous Peoples and Migration held in Santiago, Chile, on 27-29 March 2007.
It is the rst guide out of a set of urban policy guides on challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples in the City.
Christophe Lalande coordinated the overall project. Together with Rasmus Precht and Helen Andreasson (of UN-HABITAT) and David Martin (of OHCHR) he developed the research design. Claudio Acioly and Mohamed El Siou (of UN-HABITAT), and Antti Korkeakivi, Julian Burger and Samia Slimane (of OHCHR) provided valuable inputs. Zonacuario and Maria de la Guardia did the layout and artwork for this publication.
Reviews and contributions were provided by Fred Caron, Assistant Deputy Minister and Keith Smith, Senior Policy Analyst, Urban Aboriginal Strategy, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
This publication also includes contributions and comments from the participants to the Special Session on Challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples in urban areas, 5 November 2008, 4th World Urban Forum, Nanjing, China.
Photo credit: UN-HABITAT Archives, Vctor Arregui, Roberto Snchez, Rasmus Precht, Adrian Perez, Elisa Canqui and Bahram Gazi.
September 2009Copyright United Nations Human Settlements ProgrammeHS/1221/09EISBN 978-92-1-132187-6
Printing: UNON, Publishing Services Section, Nairobi, ISO 14001:2004-certied.
The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries, or regarding its economic system or degree of development. Reference to names of rms and commercial products and processes does not imply their endorsement by the United Nations, and a failure to mention a particular rm, commercial product or process is not a sign of disapproval.
The analysis, conclusions and recommendations of this publication do not necessarily reect the view of the United Nations or its member States.
Excerpts from the text may be reproduced without authorization, on condition that the source is indicated.
An electronic version of this publication is available for download from the Housing Policy Section of the UN-HABITAT website at www.unhabitat.org/housing. Hardcopies can be ordered from UN-HABITATs Regional Ofces or directly from:
P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi 00100, KENYATel: +254 20 7621 234Website: www.unhabitat.org
ContentsURBAN POLICY GUIDE TO HOUSING FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
1. THE CHALLENGES FACING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN CITIES
2. MIGRATION TO URBAN AREAS
3. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING
4. OVERVIEW OF THE HOUSING CONDITIONS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
4.1 Indigenous peoples housing conditions with regard to their right to adequate housing
4.1.1. Legal security of tenure and forced eviction4.1.2. Affordability4.1.3. Habitability4.1.4. Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure4.1.5. Accessibility4.1.6. Location 4.1.7. Cultural adequacy
4.2. The housing conditions of specic indigenous populations in urban areas
4.2.1. Womens housing conditions4.2.2. Elders4.2.3. Children and youth4.2.4. Persons with disabilities
5. HOW TO IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE URBAN HOUSING POLICY FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
5.1. Overriding principles 5.2. Recommended actions for national and local governments 5.2.1. National level
5.2.2. Local level (or other government levels responsible for housing delivery)5.2.3. Recommended actions under the seven criteria of housing adequacy
The lack of recognition of the right of self-determination and the large-scale dispossession and degradation of their lands, resources and territories has had a devastating effect on indigenous peoples livelihoods, cultures and overall socio-economic conditions. Widespread poverty and destitution owing from this has had a signicant impact on their housing. Indigenous peoples often lack security of tenure and live constantly with the threat of forced eviction from their homes and/or lands. In some countries, indigenous peoples are often found in over-crowded houses that are in poor condition and that often have neither schools nor hospitals nearby. Indigenous women and men face discrimination in most aspects of housing. Housing and development policies and programmes either discriminate against indigenous peoples directly or have discriminatory effects. The loss of traditional lands and housing contributes to the increased migration of indigenous peoples to urban centres, where barriers to adequate housing (such as unemployment/poverty, discrimination, and lack of affordable and adequate housing) are particularly acute.
Indigenous women in particular often bear the brunt of these inadequate conditions. At the same time, they experience gender-specic problems, such as domestic violence, together with discrimination and inequality as a result of institutional and cultural factors. These often curtail or prohibit womens access to, control over and the right to inherit land, property and housing. Indigenous peoples with disabilities, youth and children, elders and sexual minorities also experience greater adverse conditions in housing.
These inadequate and discriminatory conditions prevail even in those countries where domestic laws and mechanisms are supposed to promote equality and protect against discrimination in housing and/or legislation recognizing land title rights for indigenous peoples. In many instances, States have also ratied international conventions or treaties that secure the housing and land rights of indigenous peoples, but these international legal obligations often appear to fall by the wayside in the face of international trade agreements and development interests.
In some countries and cities, though, indigenous communities, as well as national and local governments, public and private institutions are taking initiatives to improve the housing conditions of Indigenous peoples migrating to cities. This guide aims to learn from these initiatives and best practices.
The development and implementation of housing policies based on international human rights is essential to the improvement of the housing and living conditions of indigenous peoples across the world. This policy guide is designed to assist with this challenge.
THE CHALLENGES FACING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN CITIES
1Urban Policy Guides for Indigenous Peoples
Worldwide, the majority of indigenous peoples still live in rural areas. However, the numbers of indigenous peoples living in urban areas is on the increase worldwide. In some countries like Canada and Chile, more than half of the indigenous population lives in cities. In Mexico, almost one in every three indigenous individuals lives in a city.
The urbanization of indigenous peoples is the result of two processes: (i) cities growing to engulf indigenous settlements, making their ancestral lands part of the urban space; and (ii) migration by members of indigenous peoples to towns and cities for various reasons. The main difference between these two categories is based on the relationship that the communities have to the land and housing they occupy. When indigenous land is engulfed in urban space, the indigenous community continues to live on ancestral lands, although now in an urbanized setting; whereas in the case of rural migration, indigenous individuals are in-migrants as all the other new arrivals to the city. Generally, both indigenous rural-urban migrants and long-time indigenous urbanites tend to be marginalized and discriminated against by dominant population groups.
Their current lack of worldwide reliable data on the numbers of indigenous peoples living in urban areas and their origins points to a much-needed area of research. However, it seems that voluntary or involuntary rural-urban migration is currently the main cause behind the rapid increase in indigenous populations in urban areas. This migration to urban areas can be either temporary or permanent.
THE CHALLENGES FACING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN CITIES
2In many cases, indigenous communities whose ancestral lands lie in urban areas often nd themselves confronted with the same difculties as those who move in and settle as migrants from rural areas. These include lack of employment and income-generating activities; limited access to services; and, very importantly, inadequate housing. It happens frequently that the main underlying cause for persistent poverty among indigenous communities in urban areas is sheer disregard for a wide range of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to adequate housing.